OMETIMES IT IS EASY TO GET bogged down in the frustrations of fostering sacred music in a world which seems at odds to all we hope to achieve. A book like this is a tonic to help pick you up and show you the bigger picture.
I saw this book in a Catholic bookshop. First the title jumped out at me, then the author – Robert Haddad is a great teacher who left a legal career to become a high school teacher. He also ran apologetics courses and developed a great reference book called Defend the Faith which is extremely handy when proselytizers come knocking on your door.
Why 1001 reasons? Read this from the back cover:
Years ago I saw a news report about the growth of Pentecostalism in Latin America. One fiery pastor had a pamphlet at the back of his church entitled, “Twenty-five reasons why you are no longer Catholic.” I became upset when I saw this and wanted to produce my own response. Naturally, I wanted this response to be both comprehensive and overwhelming—hence the thought of collecting and publishing 1001 reasons why it’s great to be Catholic! More than most, non-Catholics should find this book of great interest.
References to the musical treasures of the Catholic Church are scattered here and there. The section on Beauty is mostly full of glorious cathedrals, but also mentions Gregorian chant. The book itself is just text, no pictures, but plenty of interesting leads for next time you are looking for something to search for on the internet.
The section on Prayer pays homage to some outstanding hymns like the Te Deum, Stabat Mater and the Veni Creator. The Akathist Hymn is a Byzantine hymn I hadn’t heard of before.
The thing that stands out is the enormous breadth of the Church Universal. Through all times, all places, all languages this Mystical Body of Christ is alive and drawing men to God. What other religious tradition can even come close?